Arik Hesseldahl

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Léo Makes It Official: SAP’s Bill Wohl Joins Hewlett-Packard

HP CEO Léo Apotheker has just made official what we reported earlier this week: Bill Wohl, former VP for communications at SAP, will be coming in as chief communications officer, a new title.

He won’t be replacing departing Chief Marketing Officer Michael Mendenhall as previously thought. Instead, Apotheker says a search is underway for a new chief marketing officer.

In a memo circulated to HP employees this afternoon, and which you can read below, Apotheker says that communicating a “shared vision” will be an important part of how he runs HP. To that end he has tapped a trusted communications hand in Wohl, who ran communications for him at SAP. Apotheker says in the new job Wohl will be deeply involved in unveiling what he calls “a new strategy and vision for HP.” (Might it perhaps have something to do with a shift toward services?)

The memo, in full, is below. And below that is a second memo, circulated to HP employees yesterday from Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Shane Robison concerning Mendenhall’s departure.

From: CEO – Leo Apotheker
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 2:09 PM
Subject: Organizational Announcement — Chief Communications Officer, Chief Marketing Officer


TO/ All HP Employees

After spending two months listening and talking to HP employees, investors and shareholders, I believe that one of the ways to drive our entire business forward is to articulate the value and the richness of HP, shared vision for our products and services, delivered with a common voice. To that end, I have created the position of Chief Communications Officer, reporting directly to me and I will have the Chief Marketing Officer report directly to me as well.

Starting January 18th, Bill Wohl, a recognized public relations veteran with 25-years experience, will join HP as SVP and Chief Communications Officer. Bill comes to HP after nearly 12 years at SAP, where he was a member of the company’s Senior Executive Team. As VP of Global Communications, Bill led his global team in development and execution of the strategic communications programs for SAP Field Operations. During his tenure, Bill was a trusted communications counselor to the company’s executive team across a range of strategic issues such as crisis, M&A, product launches and global company events. In addition, he was responsible for communications for SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, and, as VP of Product and Field Communications, he handled communications for me during my tenure as SAP’s President.

Bill will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating communications across HP, and lead efforts to help me unveil the new strategy and vision for HP. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Public Affairs from the University of Delaware. In his spare time, he serves as an emergency medical technician and firefighter, responding to emergency 911 calls for the West Grove volunteer fire department (an organization for which he also has served as President and ambulance leadership positions) for the last 25+ years. Bill is relocating to the Bay Area, and starts at HP on January 18. Please join me in welcoming Bill to the company.

In addition, HP has commenced a search for a new Chief Marketing Officer, who will now oversee corporate marketing activities as we work to promote a pan-HP vision of our products and services for our customers. I would like to thank Michael Mendenhall for his service to HP and wish him the best as he moves to a new chapter in his life.

HP has tremendous opportunities to leverage its assets and deliver new and better solutions to our customers. In the months ahead, I will share more with you all about exciting new changes to the company’s strategy.

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Bill Wohl.



Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer

TO/ OST Employees

DATE/ January 6, 2011

SUBJECT/ Organizational Announcement

It is with regret that I write to let you know that Michael Mendenhall has decided to leave HP to pursue other opportunities. Michael has served as SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for three years and helped transform Corporate Marketing into a world-class organization, working to promote the HP brand and enhance our corporate reputation.

Among his many achievements, Michael helped boost HP’s corporate brand image and standing while advancing our efforts around Social Innovation and the Environment. In 2010, HP was ranked #10 by Interbrand in its ranking of the Best Global Brands, the first time in HP’s history that we had ever broken into the Top 10. We also ranked No. 12 in Millward Brown’s global brand valuation study. In 2010, Newsweek put HP at No. 2 in its list of America’s Greenest Companies, both in the U.S. and globally. HP was also ranked the No. 1 Corporate Citizen by CR (Corporate Responsibility) magazine in its list of Top 100 Best Corporate Citizens last year.

On a personal note, I want to thank Michael for all his work, for his commitment to the company and his staff and for his friendship. I also thank Michael for agreeing to stay on at HP for some time to ensure a smooth transition.

Please join me in thanking Michael for his service to HP and in wishing him well.